Daily Update: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin and Fulton J. Sheen

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (died 1548) and the Remembrance of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, Bishop (died 1979).

Today’s Saint was born in Tlayacac, Cuauhtitlan (about 15 miles north of modern Mexico City, Mexico) as Cuauhtlatoatzin (a name translated as which has been translated as “Talking Eagle” in the Nahuatl language), an impoverished free man in a strongly class-conscious society. His profession was that of a farm worker, field labourer, and mat maker. A married layman with no children, he was a mystical and religious man, becoming an adult convert to Christianity around age 50, taking the name Juan Diego. His wife died five years later, in 1529. Two years later, in 1531, he became the visionary to whom the Virgin Mary appeared at Guadalupe on December 9, 1531, leaving him the image known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. For the rest of his life, he took care of the shrine that was built on the site. He was beatified in 1990 and canonized in 2002, and is the Patron Saint of indigenous peoples. We also honor Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, Bishop (died 1979). Born as Peter John Sheen in 1895 in El Paso, Illinois (he refused to answer to his given name almost as soon as he could talk, preferring to be called Fulton, his mother’s maiden name), his first role in the Church was as an altar boy at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, Illinois. Ordained a priest in 1919, he quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy as well as acting as a parish priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. He held this position until 1966 when he was made the Bishop of Rochester. Sheen held this position for three years before resigning and being made the Archbishop of the Titular See of Newport, Wales. For 20 years he hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour (1930-1950) before moving to television and presenting Life Is Worth Living (1951-1957). For this work Sheen won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality in 1953; he inspired a young Spanish-Irish actor, Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez, who changed his name to Martin Sheen. His final presenting role was on the syndicated The Fulton Sheen Program (1961-1968) with a format very similar to that of the earlier Life is Worth Living show.  Due to his contribution to televised preaching he is often referred to as one of the first televangelists. In 1980, the year after his death, Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen was published. In 2002 Sheen’s Cause for Canonization as a saint was officially opened, and in June 2012 he was declared Venerable. However, on September 3, 2014, the cause was suspended indefinitely – not for any problems with his character or with the miracle investigation, but because the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, within whose territory he is buried, had refused a request by Bishop Jenky of Peoria (who is the Actor, or supervisor, of the cause efforts because of his position as Bishop of Peoria) to have Archbishop Sheen’s remains moved to Peoria. If you know of any miracles that may be attributed to his intercession, please contact the Vatican.

I had strange dreams last night, including one in which the back doorbell rang; I went to answer it, and there was a ghost of my father and mother outside. (Later I wondered why a ghost would ring the doorbell.) I woke up at 8:00 am, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, started my laundry, finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started the Weekly Virus Scan. I then ate my breakfast toast and read the morning paper; while I was doing so Richard reported that the Weekly Virus Scan had finished. Richard left for Wal-Mart, and I put my laundry in the dryer.

I left the house at 10:30 am; at the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. On my way to Lafayette I called Richard, who reported that he had gotten a new frying pan and bedsheets at Wal-Mart, but that they were (still) out of firewood. At 12:15 pm I ate my lunch at Piccadilly Cafeteria, where I finished reading The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2016 Edition. At 1:15 pm I installed myself in one of the comfy chairs at Barnes and Noble, and continued reading the November 2015 issue of National Geographic. I then purchased the 2016 What Cats Teach Us Wall Calendar, and renewed my Barnes and Noble Rewards Card.

I arrived home at 4:00 pm, finished my laundry, and watched Jeopardy! Richard and I then lit the Advent Candles and the Candles for the Fourth Night of Hanukkah, then Richard went to get our dinner (burger and fries) while I did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2016 Edition. I then did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts, and once I finish this Daily Update I will take a bath and do some reading.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, but I personally honor Thomas Merton (died 1968). And tomorrow is International Human Rights Day. I will get up early again, iron my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, and then get out the Christmas decorations and start putting them up. I will also go to the store to get my salad supplies and make my lunch salads for Friday and Saturday.

Our Parting Quote on this Wednesday evening comes to us from Eleanor Parker, American actress. Born in 1922 in Cedarville, Ohio, she moved with her family to East Cleveland, Ohio, where she attended public schools and graduated from high school. She was signed by Warner Brothers in 1941. She was cast that year in the film They Died with Their Boots On, but her scenes were cut. Her actual film debut was as Nurse Ryan in Soldiers in White in 1942. By 1946 Parker had starred in Between Two Worlds, Hollywood Canteen, Pride of the Marines, Never Say Goodbye, and had played the key role of Mildred Rogers in the remake of Of Human Bondage. She broke the champagne bottle on the nose of the California Zephyr train, to mark its inaugural journey from San Francisco on March 19th, 1949. Parker was nominated three times as Best Actress for the Academy Award. In 1950 she was nominated for Caged, in which she played a prison inmate. For this role, she won the 1950 Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival. She was then nominated for the Oscar in 1951 for her performance as Mary McLeod, the woman who did not understand the position of her unstable detective husband (played by Kirk Douglas) in Detective Story, and again in 1955 for her portrayal of opera singer Marjorie Lawrence in the Oscar-winning biopic Interrupted Melody. She followed Detective Story with her portrayal of an actress in love with a swashbuckling nobleman (played by Stewart Granger) in Scaramouche. Parker then starred with Charlton Heston as a 1900s mail-order bride in The Naked Jungle, directed by George Pal. Also in 1955, Parker appeared in the film adaptation of the National Book Award-winner The Man with the Golden Arm, directed by Otto Preminger. She played Zosh, the supposedly wheelchair-bound wife of heroin-addicted, would-be jazz drummer Frankie Machine (Frank Sinatra). In 1956, she was billed above the title with Clark Gable for the Raoul Walsh-directed Western comedy The King and Four Queens. A year later, she starred in another W. Somerset Maugham novel, a remake of The Painted Veil in the role originated by Greta Garbo, released as The Seventh Sin. She also appeared in Home from the Hill, A Hole in the Head with Frank Sinatra, and Return to Peyton Place. In 1963 Parker appeared in the NBC psychiatry medical drama The Eleventh Hour in the episode “Why Am I Grown So Cold?”, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. In 1964 she appeared in the episode “A Land More Cruel” on the ABC psychiatry medical drama Breaking Point. Parker’s best-known screen role came as Baroness Schraeder, who vied unsuccessfully with Maria (played by Julie Andrews) for the affections of Georg von Trapp (played by Christopher Plummer) in the 1965 Oscar-winning musical The Sound of Music. In 1966 she played an alcoholic in Warning Shot, a talent scout in The Oscar, and a rich alcoholic in An American Dream.  In 1968 she portrayed a spy in How to Steal the World, a film originally shown as a two-part episode on NBC’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. In 1969 to 1970 Parker starred in the television series Bracken’s World, for which she was nominated for a 1970 Golden Globe Award as Best TV Actress – Drama. She also appeared in the Ghost Story episode “Half a Death” (1973), a suspense-thriller about a wealthy woman reconciling the lives of her two daughters. Parker starred in a number of theatrical productions, including the role of Margo Channing in the Broadway musical version of the film All About Eve, titled Applause. The role was originally played in the musical by Lauren Bacall and in All About Eve by Bette Davis. In 1976 she played Maxine in the Ahmanson Theater revival of The Night of the Iguana. She quit the Circle in the Square Theatre revival of Pal Joey during previews. She wrote the preface to the book How Your Mind Can Keep You Well, a meditation technique developed by Roy Masters. Raised as a Protestant, in later life she converted to Judaism. Her last role was as Catherine Black in the 1991 TV movie Dead on the Money (died 2013): “When I’m spotted somewhere, it means that my characterizations haven’t covered up Eleanor Parker the person. I prefer it the other way around.”

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